Cabinet expansion scheduled for Thursday

May 26th, 2009 - 10:22 pm ICT by ANI  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, May 26 (ANI): Union Council of Ministers will be expanded on Thursday, with swearing-in ceremony of the second lot of ministers to be held at 11.30 a.m. at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi today met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for a second round of discussions on expansion of the Council of Ministers.

She was accompanied by her political advisor Ahmed Patel. Earlier in the day, Gandhi chaired a meeting of the Congress core group, which was attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony and Ahmed Patel.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi had a marathon four-hour meeting to discuss the expansion.

As reported the DMK has already announced its decision to join the Government. The expansion is expected to have Ministers from the DMK, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and other allies of the Congress.

According to sources, Trinamool Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP are the two allies putting pressure on the UPA over the issue of Cabinet berths.

Besides, the Congress is undecided on allocating portfolios to some of its own leaders like Kamal Nath, Kapil Sibal and H R Bhardwaj.

In the first round of swearing-in on Friday, only 19 ministers were inducted along with the Prime Minister. Portfolios have been allocated to only six ministers.

The induction was a truncated affair as DMK, a key constituent of the UPA, was unhappy over the number of ministerial berths being offered by the Congress and threatened to support the government from outside. (ANI)

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